Historic preservation professionals, advocates and volunteers from across the state will gather in Davenport this fall for the 2016 Preserve Iowa Summit and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.

preserve iowa summit

Presented by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the City of Davenport, the “2016 Preserve Iowa Summit: Our History, Our Future” will be Sept. 15-17 at various venues in or near Davenport’s historic downtown, with a pre-summit reception set for 6-9 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Historic Freight House. More information and registration is available at www.preserveiowasummit.org. Early-bird registration runs until Aug. 15 with a $30 discount off the registration fee.

“The preservation of historic properties continues to grow as more Iowans see the economic development and quality-of-life benefits it brings to their communities,” said Paula Mohr, who directs SHPO’s local historic preservation program. “The backbone of Iowa’s preservation network includes more than 90 city and county historic preservation commissions that are part of the state’s Certified Local Government program, the largest of its kind in the country. We especially invite state, county and city officials to come to Davenport to learn about historic preservation in our great state.”

With more listings on the National Register of Historic Places than any other city in Iowa, Davenport’s historic architecture, rich ethnic history and strong commitment to preservation make it an ideal backdrop for this year’s summit.

Local preservationists will use the city’s historic assets as a learning laboratory for attendees and share their knowledge about local projects during breakout sessions and tours, including:

  • The vibrant Hamburg Historic District, one of the state’s largest National Register districts, includes the homes of the city’s early German settlers and some of the city’s most impressive examples of residential architecture, many of which have been rehabilitated.
  • The Hilltop Campus Village, one of Main Street Iowa’s urban districts is a place for history, shopping, dining and entertainment.
  • The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center at the Davenport Public Library is a rich collection of local historic photographs, architectural drawings, maps and archives.

Other breakout sessions will address a wide range of topics, including early 20th century homes sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co.; the National Register of Historic Places nomination process; nuisance properties and preservation; and even the intricacies of historic wallpaper. Speakers will also discuss technical issues, including historic preservation tax credits, Community Development Block Grants, and how to address mortar, windows and roofs as part of historic preservation projects.

In addition, attendees will visit several local venues on foot or a guided bike tour, including the German-American Heritage Center and the Figge Art Museum, plus Credit Island, the Rock Island Arsenal, the Palmer School of Chiropractic, Historic Oakdale Cemetery and Historic Hilltop.

Keynote speakers are Greg Werkheiser of Culture Heritage Partners, PLLC, and Megan Brown of the National Park Service. Werkheiser’s firm is coordinating Preservation50, the United States’ year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Brown will discuss the National Park Service’s Civil Rights Initiative as part of a daylong session called “The African American Experience in Iowa.”

Sponsored by the Iowa Network to Freedom Project, the session will feature numerous discussions ranging from black Civil War veterans, Mrs. Dred Scott and the Iowa Civil Rights Trail.

In addition, preservationists from across the state will share “Three-Minute Success Stories” and celebrate this year’s winners of the “Preservation at its Best” awards.

The State Historic Preservation Office is overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The National Park Service has provided funding for the summit.

Detailed information about the summit, sessions, speakers, programs and registration is available at www.preserveiowasummit.org.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.